Sunday, June 16, 2013

Explaining and exploring how pro-lifers benefit their communities

Isn't it time we examined the negative narrative about pro-lifers that seems to permeate our public consciousness?  

All you have to do is read mainstream news reportage to realize that pro-lifers get a raw deal.  We are portrayed as anti-women extremists, prone to violence, who enjoy shaming women and whose goal is to put women back in subservient positions in society. 

Never mind that women make up significantly more than 50% of the population at any pro-life event or activity. 

Never mind that abortion on demand is just about the best gift that predatory males have ever been given.  Women who are exploited by sex trafficking, as well as ordinary teens who learn from Planned Parenthood that hooking up without relationship is a mark of empowerment for women, both require abortion as a method of "cleaning up" reproductive messes, ie. pregnancy. 

Meanwhile, educators and counselors who oppose both amoral sexuality and abortion on demand are stigmatized in print and in Planned Parenthood sex education programs and material. 

Delaware Right to Life is taking issue with the mis-characterization of the pro-life community, which in every state is a beacon of hope and help to women struggling with reproductive issues. Here's a recent News Journal article, followed by a discussion from the comment section of the online version of the article. I am taking up the keyboard to enter into the discourse. Pro-lifers need better press, and the community at large deserves to know exactly what we do for them.

Mary-Lee Lutz ·  Top Commenter · Newark, Delaware
Ms. Collins seems to forget what women well remember… that Planned Parenthood, even with its alleged shortcomings, is a vast improvement over the back alley abortions they were forced to endure as recently as forty years ago.

  • Jessica Christine Ferraro
    I'm sorry how is leaving baby parts in a patient's body a vast improvement???

  • Cj Warren
    The crap that's been going on sure doesn't sound like a vast improvement to me!

  • Mary-Lee Lutz ·  Top Commenter · Newark, Delaware
    Cj Warren

    It is an improvement. You see the "crap" that happens to a few women. I see the successful abortions that many receive.

    In times past, every woman risked her life by having an abortion. Generally speaking, abortions were performed on kitchen tables in the woman's own home or in the home of the abortionist. Those women who did not die often risked losing their reproductive potential entirely. These were not isolated incidents. They were common, everyday happenings.

    Those women who used coat hangers or knitting needles on themselves were at even greater risk. Most of them died… in excruciating pain.

    So, whatever Planned Parenthood does or does not do, it is far better than what happened to women in the past. Women KNOW that. That's why so many of them choose Planned Parenthood for their abortions.

  • Rae Stabosz ·  Top Commenter · Chief Cook and Bottlewasher, CEO and all that at Pious Ladies Bookmobile
    Ms Mary-Lee Lutz , you are forgetting that the article is not about abortion per se but about the benefit to the community of pro-life advocates and pro-life advocacy, a benefit that goes largely unacknowledged and untapped because of Planned Parenthood apologists like yourself. The choice is not PPDE abortions or back-alley abortions. The choice is between knowing your full range of options for an unwanted pregnancy or being given counseling at Planned Parenthood that nurse Jayne Mitchell-Werbrich termed "a joke" as you are rushed through a procedure by an uncaring doctor and a profit-minded business model, often after having been pressured into the abortion by boyfriends, parents or even husbands.

    The term "back alley”, by the way, refers not to where abortions were done prior to Roe v Wade but to how women were instructed t...See More

  • Jessica Christine Ferraro
    To tell women that they must settle for PP because it's better than before is a huge slap in the face to women. Such a tragedy to choose to take your life in your hands all because of a beautiful baby. What would those woman say if we could ask them " was it worth it?", "was it worth it to kill your child and yourself?". What kind of legacy did those women leave, Mary? The common argument against abortion is that "I don't want a baby right now" "I have dreams I want to pursue first". What about the baby's dreams? What about his/her destiny? What if that child grew up to cure cancer? become a doctor? a scientist? What if... I now think of another woman I once knew who had a completely different way of thinking. A woman that had 16 children (yes all from the same husband). That woman was my grandmother and because of her choosing life I am here today. Many of her children and grandchildren went on to work in the healthcare field and SAVE PEOPLES LIVES. She has left a legacy that is touching hundreds of hearts.

  • Mary-Lee Lutz ·  Top Commenter · Newark, Delaware
    Rae, women know what they are doing when they come in to an abortion facility… of any sort. They neither need or want "counseling" on the "full range of their options." They know the "full range of their options" They want an abortion. Period.

    I suggest that women who claim to regret having an abortion are more motivated by the angst and shame that you "pro-life" advocates saddle them with. I have never met a woman who has had an abortion express anything but relief that it is over and done with.

    On the other hand, adoption agencies are now required to inform women of the "full range of THEIR options," including government assistance of various kinds, when they come in to place their babies. When women are so informed, 99% choose to keep their babies and raise them themselves. These are women who already want to give birth, but also want to keep and raise their own children… not women who need to be talked into it.

    Matter of fact, my birthmother gave birth to me when she was sixteen (in 1944) and she relinquished me for adoption. The next time she was pregnant and still unmarried, she had an abortion. I wonder how many other women have done the same. I suspect there are many. So much for the manifest joys of "choosing life."

    In summation, women already know what their choices are, at least as far as whether to continue their pregnancies or abort them. They do not need you to confuse them.

  • Rae Stabosz ·  Top Commenter · Chief Cook and Bottlewasher, CEO and all that at Pious Ladies Bookmobile
    "I suggest that women who claim to regret having an abortion are more motivated by the angst and shame that you 'pro-life' advocates saddle them with. " Is it necessary to resort to the inflammatory rhetoric that is precisely the kind of stereotyping that the article exposes to light. It belittles and stigmatizes the super caring women and men who make up the Delaware pro-life community. Either you are politically motivated or you sincerely believe that this stereotype is true. If the former, I will just say that it's a one trick strategy you are using, one that does not reflect reality. As more pro-life folks come "out of the closet" and refuse to be cowed by your own brand of shaming, it will go away. The PPDE scandal already shows how dangerous to the public weal that prejudice can be. If the News Journal had reported on the ...See More

  • Rae Stabosz ·  Top Commenter · Chief Cook and Bottlewasher, CEO and all that at Pious Ladies Bookmobile
    Actually, let me correct myself. By using the phrase "super caring" to describe pro-life advocates I'm engaging in the same kind of rhetoric as Ms. Lutz, but from the point of extravagant praise rather than belittling criticism. I apologize. Not everybody is super caring, and not all of the time. I'd say there's more caring than shaming, which is why I invite you to meet some of "the other side".

  • Mary-Lee Lutz ·  Top Commenter · Newark, Delaware
    I did not say that pro-life people do not care. What I did say, basically, is that pro-life people do not respect a woman's ability to choose what is best for herself.

    Just as no one should try to force their religious beliefs, or their political beliefs, or any others of their beliefs on anyone… unless that person asks for an opinion… neither should they try to force their beliefs about abortion on anyone. The women entering Planned Parenthood do not ask for your opinions, and they certainly know how to contact you if they actually want your opinions.

    They do not need your opinions. They have opinions of their own. You need to respect their opinions and their choices.

  • Rae Stabosz ·  Top Commenter · Chief Cook and Bottlewasher, CEO and all that at Pious Ladies Bookmobile
    Ah, well, that's a different matter than accusing pro-lifers of "shaming" women and saddling them with angst. You are speaking of those who engage in sidewalk counseling and prayer. I have done quite a lot of that. Yes, it is quite true that the women we approach have not solicited our opinion. It is also true that part of the American experiment is for folks to offer their opinions, unsolicited, in public places. Now, what you say is true: very many women, the majority in fact, have made up their minds completely and are there to have an abortion, no doubt in their minds. But not all. For some women, our presence acts as "a sign" that they are meant to re-think their decision. Read the literature. This literally true.

    We provide two services by praying and by offering literature and counseling.

    1) We offer a supportive presence for those women who are unsure even at the last minute if they really want to end their child's life. Such women exist. A woman came up to our group a few months ago and thanked us for being there. She said that when she heard our Deacon Bob leading us in singing the Divine Mercy Chaplet, with his baritone voice and the conviction of his words, she was moved by the music. She knew then that she would ask to see the ultrasound, and she knew that if she saw the ultrasound she would decide to keep her baby. Which she did. A child lives because a woman in conflict experienced our presence as a sign. Again -- I attended a baby shower thrown by pro-lifers for a young woman who had decided to accept help and counsel from a member of our sidewalk group. When I entered the room where the shower was being held, and saw the young mother whose due date was approaching sitting there laughing and smiling, with the outline of her baby sharp against her t-shirt and the excited laughter of her birth family and her new pro-life "family" all around her, I began to cry. An uncertain woman had found the support she needed at the moment she needed it, because somebody was there to simply ask.

    Presence to a receptive person is more powerful than attempts to persuade an unreceptive person. I respect the women I talk to. I don't shame. I am present, and available, and I offer what I can. Sometimes, that's what is needed. We stand in the gap between life and death -- not to scream and shame but to offer alternatives to those who are willing to listen. We make ourselves available to serve as an unlooked for catalyst for a change that was already formulating interiorly. We are there for those who are receptive. Some are. Just as some are not, and in fact are repelled by us, or angered. No social progress was ever made without some people standing in the gap offering alternatives to the status quo.

    2) We also stand up for the unborn whose last moments of life are approaching. It is a salutary thing to stand in solidarity with innocent human beings in various stages of gestation who are being led to their execution. I like to pray that their last moments be as dignified an end to a short life as is possible. Any person whose conscience is well-formed will stand against injustice when it involves the death of innocents. When a society perpetrates a legal injustice against a vulnerable population on behalf of those it gives the power to choose life and death, a person of conscience can stand in solidarity with the victims without judging or condemning the ones who are imposing death.

    Not all abortion-minded women are cut from the same cloth. That's as true for you to understand as it is for me. The pro-life community stands ready to offer help to those who are open to rethinking abortion, even at the last minute when death and life are immediately on the line.